RICHMOND – An attempt to repeal Virginia’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law was defeated by a close vote in a House of Delegates subcommittee today.
The bill (HB2010) from Del. Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge County, would have made helmets optional for riders 21 and older. The measure was rejected 3-2 and will advance no further in this legislative session.
Cline told the panel it’s an issue of individual liberty. “I hope the subcommittee would have faith in the citizens of the commonwealth to make this decision for themselves,” he said.
Matt Danielson, counsel for the Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists, said 31 states now make helmets optional and there is no evidence of a detrimental impact on traffic safety.
But Chris LaGow, an insurance lobbyist, said motorcycle fatality rates have risen 20 to 30 percent in the states that have repealed mandatory helmet laws.
The measure also drew opposition from the Virginia State Police, local chiefs of police, fire chiefs, volunteer rescue squads, the Division of Motor Vehicles and the American Automobile Association.
-Bill Sizemore, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot